As we enter into the season of Advent this year, we are blessed by the work of John August Swanson in his “Festival of Lights.” John says: “it is a dark night with a star-filled sky. Tiny lights are seen on the distant hillsides, gradually becoming figures carrying candles as they come closer to the foreground of the painting.” John imagines the stars touching the hills, the children in the procession reaching to bring the light of the stars into the world, bringing peace.
We are grateful for this beautiful season in the church year when we are drawn by the candles’ lights to remember that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it,” as the Gospel of John proclaims. The candles in the Advent wreath and the candles we will light together on Christmas Eve all witness to the birth of Christ, bringing light and life to all.
This is a time of deep darkness in many parts of our world. Still, God comes to be with us. God’s light is given, that we might become people of the light, people who travel together in the light toward the light who is God. How we need God’s light to come to us and transform us from within, that we might be light-bearers who, with the children, witness to hope and peace.
Amidst all the busy-ness of the season, I encourage you to calm your mind and nurture your soul. Ponder the Advent devotionals. Delight in the music of the season. Find some moments of prayer, silence, worship, fellowship, service, and giving—the spiritual practices that form us from the inside out into those who live with the deep assurance that Christ is the Light of the World.
May the light of Christ shine in you.